Skip to main content

In Ted Cruz v. Paul Ryan, Ryan is the winner

By S.E. Cupp
updated 11:00 AM EDT, Fri October 11, 2013
The Statue of Liberty looms over visitors below on Liberty Island in New York Harbor on Sunday, October 13. The statue was closed to the public by the federal government's partial shutdown that began October 1, but reopened Sunday after the state of New York agreed to shoulder the costs of running the site during the shutdown. Many government services and agencies remain completely or partially closed. The Statue of Liberty looms over visitors below on Liberty Island in New York Harbor on Sunday, October 13. The statue was closed to the public by the federal government's partial shutdown that began October 1, but reopened Sunday after the state of New York agreed to shoulder the costs of running the site during the shutdown. Many government services and agencies remain completely or partially closed.
HIDE CAPTION
Government shutdown: Sorry, we're closed
Government shutdown: Sorry, we're closed
Government shutdown: Sorry, we're closed
Government shutdown: Sorry, we're closed
Government shutdown: Sorry, we're closed
Government shutdown: Sorry, we're closed
Government shutdown: Sorry, we're closed
Government shutdown: Sorry, we're closed
Government shutdown: Sorry, we're closed
Government shutdown: Sorry, we're closed
Government shutdown: Sorry, we're closed
Government shutdown: Sorry, we're closed
Government shutdown: Sorry, we're closed
Government shutdown: Sorry, we're closed
Government shutdown: Sorry, we're closed
Government shutdown: Sorry, we're closed
Government shutdown: Sorry, we're closed
Government shutdown: Sorry, we're closed
Government shutdown: Sorry, we're closed
Government shutdown: Sorry, we're closed
Government shutdown: Sorry, we're closed
Government shutdown: Sorry, we're closed
Government shutdown: Sorry, we're closed
Government shutdown: Sorry, we're closed
Government shutdown: Sorry, we're closed
Government shutdown: Sorry, we're closed
Government shutdown: Sorry, we're closed
Government shutdown: Sorry, we're closed
Government shutdown: Sorry, we're closed
Government shutdown: Sorry, we're closed
Government shutdown: Sorry, we're closed
Government shutdown: Sorry, we're closed
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • S.E. Cupp: Paul Ryan's proposal on entitlements has been attacked by Ted Cruz backers
  • She says Ryan is pursuing the worthy goal of reforming entitlement programs
  • Cupp supports Cruz's effort to defund Obamacare but says Ryan's plan isn't in conflict
  • She says GOP shouldn't get locked into internal battle over tactics

Editor's note: S.E. Cupp is co-host of the new "Crossfire," which airs weekdays at 6:30 p.m. ET on CNN. She is also the author of "Losing Our Religion: The Liberal Media's Attack on Christianity," co-author of "Why You're Wrong About the Right," a columnist at the New York Daily News and a political commentator for Glenn Beck's "The Blaze."

(CNN) -- The Los Angeles Times headline said it all: "Rep. Paul Ryan Fails to Close Republican Divide."

When this became Ryan's job, or whether his now "controversial" Wall Street Journal op-ed was even an attempt at doing that, is anyone's guess.

But once again, Republicans have decided to cannibalize themselves viciously and needlessly instead of uniting over common goals.

S.E. Cupp
S.E. Cupp

To be clear, the divide on the right isn't over policy. No Republican I've met thinks Obamacare is good legislation. No one is suggesting capitulation on the debt ceiling. Everyone wants spending cuts, entitlement reform and deficit reduction.

Where we're divided is over tactics. Incidentally, Ryan hinted at this in September to Politico:

"Yeah, there's a bit of frustration. ... We all believe the same thing, we all want to achieve the same goal, and so we shouldn't be questioning each other's conservatism over tactical disagreements."

See Sen. Ted Cruz take on hecklers
Cruz: I do support health care overhaul

Guess no one on Team Ted Cruz got that message.

After Ryan's op-ed, which pushed for a strong-willed fight for entitlement reform in exchange for raising the debt ceiling, failed to mention the unholiest of Tea Party holies, Obamacare, he was nailed to a proverbial cross by Ted Cruz defenders, who then immediately told everyone at Golgotha -- or on Twitter -- of his betrayal.

Cruz speechwriter Amanda Carpenter tweeted, "There is one big word missing from this op-ed. It's start (sic) with an O and ends with BAMACARE."

Heritage Action spokesman Dan Holler was similarly snarky: "Much like White House press, Paul Ryan doesn't mention Obamacare in WSJ oped. #shutdown."

Over on Red State, Daniel Horowitz posted the questions, "So we are going to ditch the fight over Obamacare, which is extremely unpopular, to fight for Medicare reform? Really, Paul Ryan? And they think we are politically stupid?"

Now, nowhere in Ryan's op-ed does he suggest ditching the fight over Obamacare. As Cruz's cheerleaders point out, Ryan doesn't even mention the health care law.

But the thing that defies logic (and good manners) is the necessity of this kind of puerile bullying. Ryan's plan isn't in competition with or heretical to Cruz's message. It's simply another objective conservatives should fight for, both in the short term and the long term.

Furthermore, the sniping is just unseemly, and frankly, Cruz's defenders are only managing to make Ryan look like the grown-up.

I don't recall Ryan jumping into the fray when plenty of Republicans were criticizing the strategy to defund Obamacare -- a position by Cruz that I have applauded as heroic. When Sens. Bob Corker and Orrin Hatch and Rep. Peter King were scolding Cruz for a plan they knew was ill-fated, Ryan was virtually silent on the move. This, even though Cruz has never been shy about his disdain for Ryan Republicans. Back in March, Cruz criticized Ryan's budget plan for its Medicare cuts. And he's made it clear he doesn't trust Ryan when it comes to budget negotiations.

It's hard to argue that Ryan isn't a staunch conservative. To treat him like a traitor is preposterous and unproductive. And while I admire Cruz's conviction, and stand by his commitment to peel back a program as odious and ruinous as the Affordable Care Act, he has to learn to work with others on his own team.

The Los Angeles Times headline isn't accurate. Instead of reading "Rep. Paul Ryan Fails to Close Republican Divide" it should read "Team Cruz Rips Republicans Apart. Again." If he keeps it up, he'll lose people like me who are with him on the policy, but quickly losing patience for his tactics.

Follow us on Twitter @CNNOpinion.

Join us on Facebook/CNNOpinion.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of S.E. Cupp.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 8:45 AM EDT, Sun July 13, 2014
To prevent war with North Korea over a comedy, what would Dennis Rodman say to Kim Jong Un? Movie critic Gene Seymour weighs in.
updated 9:15 AM EDT, Fri July 11, 2014
Michael Werz says in light of the spying cases, U.S. is seen as a paranoid society that can't tell friends from foes.
updated 9:17 AM EDT, Fri July 11, 2014
Eric Liu explains why in his new book, he calls himself "Chinese American" -- without a hyphen.
updated 11:12 AM EDT, Fri July 11, 2014
John Bare says hands-on learning can make a difference in motivating students to acquire STEM skills.
updated 9:20 AM EDT, Fri July 11, 2014
Karl Alexander and Linda Olson find blacks and whites live in urban poverty with similar backgrounds, but white privilege wins out as they grow older.
updated 12:20 PM EDT, Thu July 10, 2014
Frida Ghitis says a poll of 14 Muslim-majority nations show people are increasingly opposed to extremism.
updated 2:28 PM EDT, Thu July 10, 2014
Ruben Navarrette says spending more on immigation enforcement isn't going to stop the flow of people seeking refuge in the U.S.
updated 4:48 PM EDT, Thu July 10, 2014
Faisal Gill had top security clearance and worked for the Department of Homeland Security. That's why it was a complete shock to learn the NSA had him under surveillance.
updated 2:41 PM EDT, Thu July 10, 2014
Kevin Sabet says the scientific verdict is that marijuana can be dangerous, and Colorado should be a warning to states contemplating legalizing pot.
updated 4:47 PM EDT, Wed July 9, 2014
World War I ushered in an era of chemical weapons use that inflicted agonizing injury and death. Its lethal legacy lingers into conflicts today, Paul Schulte says
updated 7:37 AM EDT, Thu July 10, 2014
Tom Foley and Ben Zimmer say Detroit's recent bankruptcy draws attention to a festering problem in America -- cities big and small are failing to keep up with change.
updated 8:01 AM EDT, Thu July 10, 2014
Mel Robbins says many people think there's "something suspicious" about Leanna Harris. But there are other interpretations of her behavior
updated 1:53 PM EDT, Wed July 9, 2014
Amy Bass says Germany's rout of Brazil on its home turf was brutal, but in defeat the Brazilian fans' respect for the victors showed why soccer is called 'the beautiful game'
updated 5:07 PM EDT, Wed July 9, 2014
Aaron Carroll explains how vaccines can prevent illnesses like measles, which are on the rise
updated 8:08 PM EDT, Tue July 8, 2014
Aaron Miller says if you think the ongoing escalation between Israel and Hamas over Gaza will force a moment of truth, better think again
updated 3:03 PM EDT, Tue July 8, 2014
Norman Matloff says a secret wage theft pact between Google, Apple and others highlights ethics problems in Silicon Valley.
updated 6:37 PM EDT, Tue July 8, 2014
The mother of murdered Palestinian teenager Mohammed Abu Khder cries as she meets Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, West Bank on July 7, 2014.
Naseem Tuffaha says the killing of Israeli teenagers has rightly brought the world's condemnation, but Palestinian victims like his cousin's slain son have been largely reduced to faceless, nameless statistics.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT